By Jim Irish
Cedar Creek started hot, but McCallum’s outside hitters, Greta Carlson and Rylee Hissey, had too much firepower in a bi-district girls volleyball match at the Eagles’ gym on Monday.
Carlson, a 6-foot junior, unleashed a career-high 25 kills and finished with a .339 hitting percentage. She added three blocks.
“Greta Carlson had a great night and usually dominates with about 18 to 20 kills,” McCallum coach Amy Brodbeck said.
Hissey, a 5-11 senior and three-year starter, collected 12 kills and had a .170 hitting percentage in the 18-25, 25-17, 25-15, 25-20 victory. She had two blocks.
“Rylee Hissey is my steady player,” Brodbeck said. “Her passes, serves, and kills have contributed to this team’s success.”
"We came out with a lot of energy. We made very few errors and earned every hustle point possible."
-- Cedar Creek coach Mia Valentine
Cedar Creek (9-24) appeared to be on its way to the school’s first-ever playoff victory after capturing the first set. Under former coach Jayson Langman, the Eagles advanced to the playoffs four consecutive seasons but never won bi-district.
The Eagles led by as much as 20-9 in the set. Their passes and sets were crisp, and the frontline of Keyaira-Limuel Washington and Mackenzie Collins had outstanding blocks.
“We came out with a lot of energy,” Cedar Creek coach Mia Valentine said. “We made very few errors and earned every hustle point possible. Our defense coverage was strong, allowing us to have quality touches, which kept McCallum scrambling.”
Cedar Creek even led 8-5 in the second set, but McCallum (29-17) began to assert itself, taking the lead 12-11 and then expanding it.
"This team has fought back many times. It is who they are."
-- McCallum coach Amy Brodbeck
“This team has fought back many times,” Brodbeck said. “It is who they are.”
Cedar Creek rallied in the fourth set, grabbing the lead 15-13 on a missed serve by McCallum. The Eagles went ahead 16-15 on a kill by Washington.
McCallum tied it at 16 on a kill by Carlson. Then the Knights forged in front for good after a Cedar Creek block skimmed across the net and out of bounds.
“(Carlson) was able to poke holes in our defense,” Valentine said. “Our errors started to compound in the second and third set, and it is difficult to come back once you are down five or six points.
“We began to get that momentum back in the fourth set but couldn’t quite finish it out.”
Washington, a 6-0 sophomore led Cedar Creek with 11 kills and five blocks. Madden Denton had 21 digs, while Gianna Del Bosque dished 26 assists.
Cedar Creek committed only four service errors.
Jim Irish is a freelance writer in Bastrop, Texas